We moved from our house located in rural Western Colorado three years ago to accommodate my husband going back to college. Our older daughter was four and a half when we moved. When we go back for the weekend or on school holidays I am awash with memories of her early childhood.
The house was built in 1926 and has the charm of that era with modern improvements. The house is quaint and charming. Nothing is level thanks to previous owners flood irrigating around the house and the fact that the foundation is a combination of large rocks, some cement and luck. We would joke that you couldn't make anything level because it would look unlevel. Too much contrast is a bad thing. The stairs are really steep and had there been "code" back then certainly wouldn't have passed the test.
The steep stairs lead to a two room upstairs. As was common in homes build in that era in our valley, there was a room that the stairs opened into and you walk through the open room to get to the bedroom.
We brought our daughter, Alma, home from the hospital to a cute nursery set up in the room we walked through to get to our bedroom. From the very beginning, Alma loved her snuggles. I would lay in the recliner and nurse her until she fell asleep and then go through great lengths to try and lay her down in her crib. I couldn't let her cry so if I was unsuccessful I'd pick her back up and we would start all over again. On the weekends I would hold her for naps. We would lay in the recliner and sleep together. Some of the most blissful moments of life.
As time passed, Alma no longer nursed and I would rock her to sleep. She would want "mommy snuggles" but sometimes I needed to work or attempt to put life together for the next day. It was on one such day in her bedroom in the old house that we came up with our goodnight ritual that has persisted.
Alma and I had finished our bedtime stories, snuggled and I was ready to get up and head down the creaking stairs to my to-do list below. She of course was trying her best to keep me there. Trying to convince me to stay using all of the usual tools, "Mommy I'm scared, Mommy I need a drink , Mommy just two more minutes, etc". Out of somewhere I gave her a hug and said "Hugs" then I gave her a kiss and said "Kisses" then I said "I Love You", I took my fingers and waved them over her head and said "A sprinkle of happiness" and "Sweet dreams". After another round of pleading I said, "hugs, kisses, I love yous, happiness and sweet dreams". She looked up into my eyes and was satisfied. I could go downstairs and she could go to bed. Now, several years later we say it every single night.
I'm fascinated by where ideas that become a lasting part of life come from. This came from my heart and my wishes for her as well. Now Alma has a baby sister and has added a final part "and forever". Yes, beautiful child of mine, "forever".